Search for secondary osteoporosis: Are Z scores useful predictors?

  • Swaminathan K
  • Flynn R
  • Garton M
 et al. 
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AIM: To determine whether Z scores can be used to predict the likelihood of patients having a secondary cause of low bone mineral density.

METHODS: A retrospective cross sectional study was conducted among 136 consecutive patients with osteoporosis at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, UK, between 1998-2002.

RESULTS: 20.5% of female patients in this study were identified with previously unrecognised contributors to the low bone mineral density. In women, at a Z score cut-off of -1, the sensitivity of detecting a secondary cause for osteoporosis is 87.5% with a positive predictive value of 29.2%.

CONCLUSION: In women, a Z score of -1 would identify a majority of patients with a secondary cause for low bone mineral density and identifies patients who would especially benefit from a thorough history and clinical examination.

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